American Graduate | KERA News

American Graduate

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Technology continues to transform operating rooms, and community colleges in North Texas that train surgical technologists must evolve, too. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

North Texas students with visual impairments improved their ability to read — and to enjoy books — this summer with the help of a pilot program in Tarrant County.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Reggie Moss is a mentor to men of all ages, but mostly, to fathers struggling to raise their kids. He works at a faith-based nonprofit in Fort Worth with a mission to make better dads.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

As a college student at the University of Missouri, Kam Phillips volunteered at a local Boys and Girls Club. There, she got a lesson in reality when she asked kids what they liked to do for fun.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Sarah Matteson, who works at Texas Woman's University in Denton, helps “nontraditional” students get through college. Students range from homeless kids and those who were in foster care or the military to parents raising young children.

When Matteson entered school, she was nontraditional herself.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

What happens when your school heads to the state championship for smart kids three years running? At Seagoville High School in the Dallas school district, students take notice – and the Academic Decathlon team doubles in size. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Throughout the summer, high school and junior high students have been gathering at Southern Methodist University for week-long engineering camps. High schoolers tackled a tough challenge. Devise - then build – one of several electronic items like an alarm clock or home burglary system.  Only make it smaller, cheaper and faster than what’s out there. And finish it in just days.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

Laura and Alex Laywell spend most of their days working with refugee kids in Dallas’ Vickery Meadow neighborhood. At night, they open their home to them.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

The Texas Legislature’s special session starts Tuesday. At the top of Gov. Greg Abbott’s education agenda: school choice for special-needs students.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Texas is facing shortages in the workforce in fields like nursing and education. One solution: Lawmakers passed a bill this session allowing community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in certain fields. Gov. Greg Abbot signed the bill into law last month.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Alex Gutierrez struggled with math — and that kept her from going to her dream school. She just wrapped up her senior year at a Garland charter school where students learn English, Spanish and Chinese. She plans to stay home for a few years going to community college, but she has big plans for the future.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Going to school in a tough neighborhood has its challenges, even for a high-achiever like Joel Luera. The high school debater is headed to college in the fall, but the road to graduation hasn’t been easy.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

At this time four years ago, Phantasia Chavers of Cedar Hill was struggling with her sister’s departure for college. Today, it’s Phantasia who’s getting ready to pack her bags.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Kelli Bowdy, a senior at O.D. Wyatt High in Fort Worth, wants to be a nurse — she took special classes through school to make it happen. She’s planning to go to college. But, first, it's time for prom.

Lara Solt / KERA News

Jerry Harris, 18, is a senior at Plainview High School in Ardmore. After his parents split years ago, he left Texas to live with his dad in Oklahoma. Jerry has gone through high school with a learning disability, but he's graduating on time at the end of May.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Chance Hawkins, 19, was born with a rare genetic degenerative disease. He’s getting ready to graduate from Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School, concluding a journey that’s been filled with obstacles — and rewards.

Prasit Rodphan / Shutterstock

U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual rankings of the best high schools in the country. The Dallas school district’s School for the Talented and Gifted dropped to fourth place – after five straight years as the No. 1 school. A charter school in Scottsdale, Arizona, took the top spot.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A new report out says in the 2014-2015 school year, 8 percent of Texas students who dropped out did so in the seventh or eighth grades. The Fort Worth school district is taking several measures to prevent students from dropping out before high school and keep them on the path to graduation.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Focus Academy, an 18-year-old charter school in southern Dallas, is about to close because the state says it has failed to improve bad ratings three years running. The school wants a reprieve after taking in kids from Prime Prep Academy — the school that former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders founded. The state shut it down two years ago.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

O.D. Wyatt – and the Fort Worth neighborhood around it – looks a lot different now than when the school opened in 1968.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

A classroom used as a prayer room at Liberty High School in Frisco got the attention of the Texas attorney general’s office this month. The office sent a letter raising constitutional concerns about the room. The Frisco superintendent called the letter a "publicity stunt" and said the prayer room has been in use for several years without complaints. 

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

Duncanville High School has undergone big demographic changes in recent years. Today, about 70 percent of the students are considered economically disadvantaged — students like Rykeyia Branch. The high school senior is juggling classes with a part-time job and her role as manager of the Panthers softball team.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Frisco Superintendent Jeremy Lyon responded sharply to questions about Liberty High School's prayer room Friday, calling a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office "a publicity stunt."

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

As the city of Frisco has morphed from small town to boom town, its schools have transformed, too. These days, the majority of Frisco students are non-white. 

Amna Salman (foreground) and other Muslim students gather to pray inside a classroom at Liberty High. Photo/Lara Solt
Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The city of Frisco has transformed over the last quarter century – from a country town to a booming suburb that’s home to high-end shops and the Dallas Cowboys. Its schools have been transformed, too. Here's a look at how one school — Liberty High — is changing.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Through demographic and economic changes over the years, Duncanville High School, in a suburb south of Dallas, has maintained one constant — a winning girls basketball team.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Poverty is surging at Kimball High School in Dallas. Fifteen years ago, 57 percent of the families were economically disadvantaged. Today, it’s 83 percent. The Oak Cliff school is battling those numbers and turning around a dismal academic record — in part with its hospitality and tourism program.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Kimball High School in Dallas has endured a demographic earthquake over the past 50 years. First came integration, then busing and white flight, followed by waves of immigration, economic troubles and competition from charter and private schools. Again and again, the educational landscape has been reshaped — and so has the Oak Cliff neighborhood of southern Dallas.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

For decades, public schools across North Texas have endured demographic changes – from integration, then busing and white flight, followed by waves of immigration, economic troubles and competition from charter and private schools.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In Richardson, high school students are learning about all kinds of health care jobs, from emergency medical technician to nurse’s aide. They’re also getting hands-on experience, but they’re not getting it in a traditional classroom.

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